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Note taking and the power of mind mapping in consecutive interpreting

By Ni Luh Windiari

Udayana University, Bali – Indonesia


1. Consecutive Interpreting

Interpreting is a form of translation in which a first and final rendition in another language is produced on the basis of a one-time presentation of an utterance in a source language. (Kade cited in Pochhacker, 2004:11)

Unlike translation, interpreting is a spontaneous activity. The interpreter should concentrate well during the task to be able to receive and understand the incoming message and then express the meaning in the target language. During the process of interpreting, the interpreter has to listen carefully, understand the message, remember it and think fast and reproduce the translation soon. There is no time to consult any dictionary. These overlapping series of cognitive processing activities require high level of concentration.

There are four modes of interpreting; liaison, consecutive, simultaneous and whispering interpreting. Consecutive interpretation allows the interpreter to produce their interpretation right after the speaker finishes his/her utterance. Meanwhile, simultaneous interpretation takes place during and even in the same time period as the original speech. Consecutive interpreting gives chances to the interpreting to take note and this is very necessary in the interpreting process. Some information like numbers, proper nouns, and any complicated information which are impossible to be remembered all together had better be noted. The interpreter has their own way to make a note. Usually, when there are more than two working languages, an installation for either simultaneous or consecutive interpretation should be provided. In the latter case, one language will be consecutively interpreted in the room itself and the others from booths. The speaker does not have to talk slowly, as normal speed is better for comprehension. Consecutive interpreting is recommended if accuracy is of top priority.

Consecutive Interpreting

(The picture was taken from www.englisch-dolmetschen.com)

Qualified interpreters should have a language competence both in the source and target language. This is the most important point. Besides, they should also care about the code ethics in interpreting. The knowledge about the subject matter is very important. Interpreting in certain topics like scientific, economic, legal, culture, and any other special topics require the knowledge about those related fields. There are many terminologies which the interpreter should know. No matter how brilliant the interpreters are, if they don’t know the terms, they will find some difficulties. Therefore, it is good to get to know the topic or if possible the copy material prior to the work. Preparation and experience will contribute almost sixty percent of confidence. To the interpreters, especially the consecutive one as sometime they need to speak in front of the people (they are not in the booth like in the case of simultaneous interpreters) it will be much helpful for them to have the confidence in order not to get stuck.

On the day of the work, the interpreters will feel the tense. The overlapping series of cognitive process require high level of concentration. In this case the interpreter should have the techniques to support themselves. The tense and the loads will affect the cognitive process. Memory plays a very important role. In the case the speakers talk a lot with loads of specific information, note taking will be very helpful. The interpreters should know the note-taking techniques in interpreting which are discussed in the following section.

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